Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic The Dream of a Perfect Language
started 11/9/2002; 2:31:43 PM - last post 11/9/2002; 8:54:12 PM
Ehud Lamm - The Dream of a Perfect Language  blueArrow
11/9/2002; 2:31:43 PM (reads: 851, responses: 1)
The Dream of a Perfect Language
A lecture presented by Umberto Eco about his book on The Search for a Perfect Language.

Though this lecture isn't about programming languages, programmers like to dream about a perfect programming language, so this is appropriate.

The topic is, of course, related to our old favorite - the Sappir-Whorf Hypothesis.

And there's more. Even the idea of translation via an intermediate language is presented.

Posted to general by Ehud Lamm on 11/9/02; 2:32:45 PM

Alex Sauer-Budge - Re: The Dream of a Perfect Language  blueArrow
11/9/2002; 8:54:12 PM (reads: 581, responses: 0)
This is familar, the glory of BigDesign and its hazards. :
[a language for which] the disposition of the letters aims at mirroring the composition of ideas...makes pretty difficult the creation of neologism, especially for unknown things of which we still ignore the nature. In other words if I find an unknown flower, I can decide to give it a name (let say marigoldus Humberti) before understanding to which family it belongs. I can call a person Mary even without knowing the date and place of her birth, or the name of her parents. On the contrary, in Wilkins language, in order to name something, one should first know the whole of its properties and its precise place in a tree of genera and species. ... So no one can coin a new word before having rearranged the entire system of knowledge.

I've read lot's of FORTRAN code with procedure and variable names following similar rules to these: specify a second group of nine species an L is added after the first consonant in the pronunciation of the name, and to specify a third group a R is added. Therefore if G pe is normally Tulip (third species of the fourth difference of the genus "Grasses classified by leaf"), Gl pe is Ramsom because the addition of the L means that the final e no longer indicates the third species in the genus but the twelfth.